Andres Torres, the New York Mets’ new center fielder and leadoff batter, has a pretty dramatic personal story. For more than a decade Torres languished in the minor leagues, just not able to put his game together, despite obvious potential. At some point he was diagnosed with ADHD, but for five years he blew off treatment.Finally he was persuaded by a coach that his ADHD could be seriously undermining his performance. He took the medication that had been prescribed. Within a season, his batting average soared. He was signed by the San Francisco Giants, where he helped win the World Series in 2010.
“With the medication, everything started clicking,” Torres tells the New York Times. “From then on, it changed.” He was traded to the Mets last month.
The interesting point here is not that ADHD medication can turn a weak batter into Babe Ruth. Stimulant medications, by the way, are illegal in baseball, unless you are diagnosed with ADHD. The point here is that school is not the only arena in which kids with ADHD who don’t get treatment are likely to flounder. Focus, concentration, follow-through, impulse control—the functions kids with ADHD need help with—are important in the rest of life, too.
Too many people think ADHD is a disorder that only affects school. But it affects all kinds of endeavors, from sports to arts, from starting a career to sustaining good relationships with friends and family. We need to empower kids to corral their talents effectively in whatever arenas they want to participate, out of the classroom as well as in it.